Fallout from Jorge Giordani’s searing rebuke of Maduro continues, as ex-Minister of Education and high-ranking PSUV member Hector Navarro was effectively removed from the party last night, and will now face a PSUV disciplinary tribunal. Hector’s offence: agreeing with Giordani’s assessment and calling for an investigation of the massive corruption that plagued CADIVI.
Navarro made the following announcement last night on Twitter:
[I received] a phone call from comrade Ramon Rodriguez Chacin [director of the PSUV and governor of Guarico state] and he officially informed that that the National Direction [committee of the PSUV] had decided to send me to a party disciplinary tribunal and that also my functions as a member of that committee would be suspended immediately, and at least until I am properly judged, I no longer formally represent the PSUV.
Maduro put his foot down in response, calling on PSUV members to pick sides on the split that appears to be tearing the party apart, and said that these were “defining times” for the PSUV:
These are defining times. Let everyone define themselves – if you’re with the Maduro government, or with personal projects, interests, with other groups – let everyone define themselves.
Marches Result in Injures, Arrests
Yesterday’s nation-wide marches ended with at least 20 injured demonstrators in Carabobo alone. In that state, the march was called “193 Year Later, Carabobo Fights Again”, referencing the 193 year anniversary of the Battle of Carabobo, which was celebrated yesterday.
Confrontations between security forces and demonstrators were particularly heated in Valencia, where two National Guard trucks fired tear gas as the march attempted to enter the El Trigal neighbourhood. At least 20 people were injured, both from tear gas-related complications and rubber bullets fired by security forces.
At least five demonstrators were arrested.
Namir Kallab, a student leader, said:
193 years after the Battle of Carabobo, where Venezuela’s independence was gained [which] allowed us to be free, as was the dream of our liberator Simon Bolivar, we call [Venezuelans] to take to the streets today, as they have been doing over the past four months, so that we may be free and independent once again.
Eliecer Jimenez, a lawyer with the Foro Penal de Carabobo, pointed out that repression in the state has been particularly fierce, citing the highly-publicized cases of Genesis Carmona, Geraldine Moreno, Jesus Acosta, Marvinia Jimenez and Juan Carrasco.
Eliecer also pointed out:
Since the first days of February we have had 269 detentions, of which 85% have judicial restrictions placed upon them; that is to say, they are free, but with restrictions.
In Caracas, Gaby Arellano – a student leader from Tachira – said:
The street continues to be our space because the more they try to scare us and walk all over us, the more fragile this government becomes, and the more power it loses.
Marvinia Jimenez also took the opportunity to speak at some point during the demonstration in Caracas yesterday. Marvinia was assaulted by a National Guard officer, who hit her repeatedly on the head with her helmet. The officer – who is seen clearly on video beating Marvinia – has yet to face justice. On the case, Marvinia said:
General Arquimedes Herrera Ruso, from CORE 2 [a National Guard division], has the ability and the obligation to [call before justice] the citizen Josneidu Castillo, who physically assaulted me, and the officers who pointed their pistols at me.
Deutsche Bank’s latest report on Venezuela’s economic situation views Giordani’s departure last week as the country’s top economist as a good thing. The report says that Giordani’s exit:
… should facilitate the economic decision-making process, which as is widely believed, is slowing due to the differences between radicals and pragmatists [within the PSUV]…
Giordani was a close ally of Chavez through his tenure as president, and is largely responsible for the economic conditions in which Venezuela currently finds itself.
The president of the Confederacion Venezolana de Industriales [Venezuelan Industrial Confederation] (CONINDUSTRIA), Eduardo Garmendia, called for a “profound” change in the country’s economic model. In an interview on Televen, Garmendia said:
The [current] model doesn’t work and we have to give it a thorough examination.
Garmendia also said that he believes that the government is infringing on matters best left to private industry, and called on the government to “let us do our work while you do yours”.
Surely to the dismay of Garmendia and opposition supporters, Maduro made the following comments at the inauguration of a warehouse in Aragua:
[The] new economic offensive is a policy for which I’m personally responsible, and I will never let anyone influence me in terms of economic policy. I think about it, I study it, and the decisions are mine. It’s that simple. Everything that has to do with industrial development, [economic] growth, currency exchange, this is the man is charge [pointing to himself], Nicolas Maduro Moros. No one is going to come handcuff me, even if they try.
In Other News
Below is a video taken in El Hatillo, possibly taken on June 23. The video shows a man being arrested, presumably for filming the events on his cellphone. Of note:
- At around 0:48, a man in the right foreground with a Venezuelan flag on his left arm appears to be looking at his cell phone, which he holds in his right hand.
- At 0:52, a police officer runs into the frame: he sees the man with the cell phone, and attempts to take it from the man.
- At 1:01, the man throws his cellphone into the air, apparently in an attempt to ensure that security forces do not get their hands on it. There is a brief struggle for the phone, and it is unclear who gets a hold of it.
The man is subsequently taken away by security forces:
Finally, pictures of some students in the church of La Chiquinquira de Caracas who are currently on a hunger strike. The students – Malanye Alvarez, Brayan Betancourt and Yaraby Martinez – sewed their mouths shut today in a sign of protest:
The students began a hunger strike on Friday, and are demanding the release of the approximately 100 students who are currently in prison, as well as the unconditional pardon of the other 2,000 Venezuelans facing judicial action for their participation in the protests.